Swaziland RPCV Reed Hasting's Netflix delivers One Billionth DVD
Netflix said it viewed the one billionth delivery as symbolic of the company's rapid subscriber growth, high levels of customer satisfaction and a record of operational excellence. Netflix's service is widely recognized as among the best and most reliable in Internet commerce. Businessman and Internet Visionary Reed Hastings of California, the founder of Netflix, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Swaziland.
"I was very interested in serving my country and first joined the Marine Corps in their Platoon Leader Class, a sort of officers’ candidate school. I spent summers in the Marines and between sophomore and junior year I was in Quantico, Va., in boot camp. I found myself questioning how we packed our backpacks and how we made our beds. My questioning wasn’t particularly encouraged, and I realized I might be better off in the Peace Corps."
"I petitioned the recruiting office and left the Marines. After a yearlong application process for the Peace Corps, I left college early on my graduation day to begin my training. I was assigned to a high school with 800 students in northwest Swaziland. I taught geometry, algebra and differential equations. We were in a rural part of the country. We had no electricity and cooked with propane and wood. Corn was our staple. I lived in a thatch hut and slept on a cot. The high school graduation was really colorful. The celebrations were traditional and there were a lot of color wraps and furs. I was one of the few in Western dress."
"I joined the Peace Corps after graduate school and went to teach high school math in Swaziland, out of a combination of service and adventure. It was an extremely satisfying experience. Taking smart risks can be very gratifying. Guessing right is a skill developed over time. Not all smart risks work out, but many of them do." Read more.
Peru RPCV Peter McPherson named Chairman of the Board of Dow Jones, publishers of the "Wall Street Journal"
Dow Jones & Co. announced today that Peter McPherson will be named chairman of the company during its annual shareholding meeting on April 18. "I look forward to continuing to work closely in this new capacity with my fellow directors, including Rich Zannino," McPherson said in a statement about the company's CEO. "The board believes Rich and his team are successfully executing the right strategy for the digital era. We are working to increase value for shareholders and customers by building on Dow Jones's heritage of journalistic excellence while developing new ways to provide vital business information to today's global audience."
McPherson will continue to serve as president of the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. From 1993 to 2004, he served as president of Michigan State University. During his tenure there, he took several months off during 2003 in order to lead a team in Iraq for the Coalition Provisional Authority working with the Iraqi Ministry of Finance and Central Bank. McPherson has also held various positions at Bank of America. From 1987 to 1989 he was deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of the Treasury. Read more.
Peru RPCV Fred Poses' American Standard to break up into three companies
American Standard is to break up into three, unravelling a $10bn toilets-to-brakes group dating back to the 19th century and sounding another death knell for out-of-favour US conglomerates. The decision by American Standard to spin off its vehicle controls business, sell its bath and kitchen products division and retain its air-conditioning division reflects growing investor dissatisfaction with sprawling groups.
The disenchantment is a rejection of the notion – popular in the 1960s and 1970s – that conglomerates' vast array of businesses offered investors protection from swings in the economic and business cycle. The current trend in favour of more focused companies such as Google and Apple has contributed to the demise of several diversified groups and raised questions over the strategies of some of the surviving ones, such as General Electric and Citigroup.
Fred says an executive takes experience wherever he can get it. “You learn a lot in the sandboxes when you are a little kid,” Fred Poses says, “and you learn a lot in Peru in the Peace Corps.” The chairman and CEO of American Standard Companies spent two years in Peru working with small companies after college. “I’m not sure I raised the gross national product very much, other than the $100 a month we spent,” he says with a laugh, “but it was a wonderful experience.” Read more.